by Wilfred Okiche
Never judge a film by its title. Or its trailer. Or its producers for that matter. All of these parameters could genuinely suck and the film could still end up blowing everything else out of the water.
Deep Fever is as banal a title as one would expect for a film. Doesn’t fever run high as opposed to deep? The trailer is as unconvincing as one would expect from a film starring Monalisa Chinda, and yes it is produced by Ms Chinda in collaboration with some dude named Bobby Michaels (they worked together on 2014’s Lagos Cougars,) whom you may have heard of or seen in previous attempts such as the single Through the Rain and the film, While You Slept.
Deep Fever is also directed by Charles Uwagbai, helmer of last year’s disappointing Mike Ezuruonye comedy vehicle, Brother Jekwu. All the signs already point to a less than rewarding experience, but the thing about hope is, it springs eternal.
An adult relations drama about trust, betrayal, and the price of sacrifice, Deep Fever connects the story of two beautiful, seemingly wealthy couples who beneath their picture perfect façade, harbour secrets filthy enough to bring down a large corporation.
Ayo (Femi Jacobs) is married to the beautiful Ebun (Chinda) and just returning from the United Kingdom, they are raising a bright little girl. Ayo reconnects with his childhood friend Eric (Bobby Michael) who is married to the sexy Chinonye (Jackie Appiah).
The four adults are playing the role of family friends, even setting their kids up for play dates, but something murky and dangerous lurks underneath. Ayo and Ebun have hit a rough patch and their sex life is the huge casualty. But only one of them may be really suffering from this lack as Ayo is getting all his affection from Chinonye who happens to be his childhood sweetheart.
Ethnic differences and difficult parents ensured their plans of ending up happily ever after fell by the wayside but both Ayo and Chinonye have carried on a torrid affair right under their spouses’ noses. Eric and Ebun begin to grow suspicious, and before long they conspire to unspool a chain of events that will eventually have devastating consequences for everyone involved.
Written by Victor Mobuogwu, everything about Deep Fever, perhaps in keeping with the title, plays like a fever dream. Nothing is believable. Not a single thing. From the story to the interpretation; writing to the acting, Uwagbai’s nonchalant directing and the hack job that was done at the editing level, everything screams less than standard B-movie fare.
Somewhere, buried in all the messiness that is the finished story, lies a story that could be thrilling if handled by people who know how to present an adult drama on infidelity and its repercussions. But the team behind Deep Fever obviously do not know enough to boil water. The screenplay is dialogue heavy and constantly ventures into ludicrous territory, both with the campy dialogue and with the unbelievable plot turns.
Things move clumsily from one set up to the other without much thought to logic or continuity. The only factor at play is the writer’s insistence on ensuring his story has a take-off point and a climax. Speaking of, the ending must be one of the most carelessly played out to hit the screens in a while.
The quartet of Chinda, Appiah, Jacobs and Michaels all slum it out, with no one giving a performance that is anywhere near credible. But can blame be assigned to them really? When everything else is a clutter and the director is either overwhelmed, couldn’t care less or genuinely has no clue, it is unreasonable to expect anything to work.
Nothing works with Deep Fever.